Wednesday, May 23, 2018

DANA TAI SOON BURGESS to be awarded the 2018 Paul Ré Peace Prize by the University of New Mexico Foundation

DANA TAI SOON BURGESS will be awarded the 2018 Paul Ré Peace Prize by the University of New Mexico Foundation for bridging communities around the globe through choreography.

We are currently in Dana's hometown of Santa Fe and heading to Albuquerque tomorrow, May 24th, where Dana will receive the award, which traditionally acknowledges those who can bridge the arts and sciences to promote peace. His breath-taking work in collaboration with NASA, We choose to go to the moon, which featured interviews with famed astronaut Bruce McCandless, space scientists, as well as a special New Mexican medicine woman as part of the soundscore, is an example of how he not only bridges cultures through movement and storytelling, but also schools of thought.

From the UNM News Desk:

"The winner of the 2018 Peace Prize in the general category will be Dana Tai Soon Burgess for his work as an acclaimed choreographer, performance artist, and cultural figure.
Burgess promotes peace and harmony through his art form of dance and his beautiful, innovative choreography. For 25 years, he has worked on projects across the globe as a teacher and a performer engaging audiences and forming friendships around the world. He believes that finding connections between cultures and artists is a key to peace and diplomacy."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

See "Portraits" at the Kennedy Center June 15th and 16th

A scene from DTSBDC's I Am Vertical at the National Portrait Gallery, inspired by
the "Sylvia Plath: One Life" exhibition there.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company made history recently as the Smithsonian Institution's first dance company in residence, creating dynamic dance works from exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery. 

On June 15th and 16th at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the company presents three new dances created at the National Portrait Gallery during Burgess's residency as the Smithsonian Institution's first official choreographer.

The dances, I am Vertical, After 1001 Nights, and Confluence exemplify Burgess's sublime choreography which poetically delves into the emotional terrain of our shared humanity.

Burgess has been called "not only a Washington prize but a national treasure" by the Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Sarah Kaufman.

 Click here to purchase tickets. Space is limited.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Recap: Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at the National Portrait Gallery, Portraits of the World

DTSBDC Dancers

DTSBDC dancer Joan Ayap performing "Khaybet"
In March, the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company held a special dance salon series at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery this past month! Performed by dancers Ian Ceccarelli, Sarh Halzack, Ryan Carlough, Felipe Oyarzun, Joan Ayap, Christine Doyle, Christin Arthur, Sidney Hampton, and associate artistic director Kelly Moss Southall, the group showcased a combination of new and old dances inspired by the portraits in the gallery. 

DTSBDC dancer Sarah Halzack performing Michio Ito's "Ave Maria" and "Khaybet"

The first three dances, "Pizzicatti", "Ave Maria", "Tone Poem I" and "Tone Poem II" were originally choreographed in the early 1900's by Michio Ito, an early pioneer in modern dance and the first Asian American choreographer. He was forcefully incarcerated during World War II under Executive Order 9066 at an internment camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The portrait "Femme en Extasse"
The next piece "For Giulia" was choreographed by Burgess for the exhibition of "Femme en Extasse" by the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, which is on loan in partnership with the Swiss Embassy. "Femme en Extasse" is a portrait of Italian dancer Giulia Leonardi, which is on loan in partnership with the Swiss Embassy in the United States. The dance company was honored to have the Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden introduce the first lecture-performance on March 3rd.

The last three dances - "Confluence", inspired by a gelatin silver print of Doris Humphrey by Barbara Morgan in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection, "Khaybet" inspired by Burgess' touring through the mountain villages between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and "Dariush" inspired by his trip through the Khyber Pass in upper Pakistan - were previously choreographed by Burgess, and powerful additions to the program.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess is the Smithsonian's first choreographer in residence, currently creating new works inspired by dynamic exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery. A portrait of Burgess by artist CYJO is part of the Gallery's permanent collection.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at NPG: a unique modern dance salon inspired by modern art

DTSBDC performing at the National Portrait Gallery
Join Diplomats of Dance this Saturday, March 17th at 4 pm at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in downtown Washington, DC for a special program with Dana Tai Soon Burgess, his amazing dancers, and modern works of dance and visual art...

Where: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2nd Floor
When: 4:00 pm

The Diplomats of Dance Society will host a talkback with Burgess and dancers following the program in the NPG's Courtyard Cafe.

Please RSVP to The dance salon is a free program and open to the public.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company dancers. Photo by Jeff Watts.
From The Georgetowner:
Celebrating its 25th year, the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company presents a series of free salons in the new international gallery at the National Portrait Gallery, where Burgess is the Smithsonian’s first choreographer-in-residence. Each salon features a dance performance and discussion.

Swiss Ambassador Martin Dahinden was the honored guest March 3 at the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “Portraits of the World: Switzerland” (on view through Nov. 12) as the company performed dance excerpts that included “For Giulia,” inspired by Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler’s portrait of Italian dancer Giulia Leonardi, “Femme en Extase” (Woman in Ecstasy), on loan in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland.

Dance company members performed excerpts from “Confluence,” one of the company’s new dances inspired by the National Portrait Gallery collection, as well as rarely seen solo dances by choreographer Michio Ito. The series grows out of a long tradition of salons in which dance is performed and discussed in intimate settings.

Portraits of modern dance pioneers, including Martha Graham, Michio Ito, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, are also on view in the gallery.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Donate to Dana's Birthday Fundraiser

Please support DTSBDC's very special 25th Anniversary Season with a donation in honor of Dana Tai Soon Burgess' birthday! Any amount is a major gift and supports the dancers and the creation of new work! Thank you! Please Donate Here.
From Dana: I love making dances and am so appreciative of the friends and dance family that have sustained the work of DTSBDC for 25 years. For my 50th birthday, I would so appreciate a gift that would support our dancers and creative team. Thank you so much.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Join us to Watch Dance-Making for "The Face of Battle" with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Co. at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Publicity photo for "After 1001 Night" by Jeff Watts
RSVP to watch dancers rehearse for the upcoming performance of "After 1001 Nights", inspired by the emotional National Portrait Gallery exhibition "The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now", currently on display at the museum. Dana Tai Soon Burgess is the Smithsonian’s first choreographer-in-residence. The public rehearsal will take place in “Face of Battle: Americans at War 9/11 to Now”; Louie Palu room. Join the Diplomats of Dance Society at 1:00pm in the lobby on F Street to tour the exhibition, watch the rehearsal, and have some refreshments while speaking one on one with Dana and the dancers afterward in the National Portrait Gallery's Courtyard Cafe.

Click here to RSVP now! Space is limited!

The premiere of the final performance will be on Saturday, July 8th, 2pm and 4pm in the museum's Kogod Courtyard.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Conversation, Dance and a Book Signing for DTSBDC at the Arts Club

Last night, the Arts Club of Washington hosted a talk-back with DTSBDC Board President Bonnie Kogod and Dana Tai Soon Burgess, featuring excerpts of the recent dances created from exhibitions at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, where Dana is the first-ever choreographer in residence. It was stirring and wonderful by all accounts! The audience was engaged about the history-making artistic residency, and we look forward to seeing them on July 8th in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard of the museum!

Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Bonnie Kogod

DTSBDC dancers performing an exerpt from a recent work by Burgess

Image from Matailong Du's book, DTSBDC@25
Dana and artist Matailong Du had a book signing event with National Portrait Gallery historian Amy Henderson at the Arts Club of Washington​l. The book, DTSBDC@25, comes from photographs by Matailong that document Dana's creating process on the first dance, "Margin", that he created at National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution after being named choreographer in residence. Please contact DTSBDC if you want a copy. Dana's next project "After 1001 Nights" will be premiering on July 8th, 2017, with open rehearsals in June, at the National Portrait Gallery. (Event photos by Wanyu Zhang)

Matailong Du, Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Amy Henderson

Matailong Du with DTSBDC@25

Friday, May 5, 2017

Take a watch: Smithsonian's first-ever choreographer in residence

Watch these two short videos about Dana Tai Soon Burgess and his role as the Smithsonian's first-ever choreographer in residence, creating new works with his dancers and team inspired by intriguing exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Opening Reception of "Artistry Portrayed: Photographs of DTSBDC's 'Margin'"

Photograph by artist Matailong Du ("Duma") of the production of DTSBDC's "Margin" in October 2016.

Join us for the opening reception of "Artistry Portrayed" and see photographs by Corcoran School School of the Arts and Design student Matailong Du (MA, New Media Photojournalism) that artfully document the production of "Margin", a dance performed by the internationally renowned Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in October 2016, where six portraits from the Outwin 2016 exhibition were transformed into dance.

When: Tuesday May 2nd, 5-7pm
Where: Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, 805 21st Street NW, 2nd floor
RSVP here

Friday, March 3, 2017

Behind the Scenes With DTSBDC: Join us for an open rehearsal!

Dana Tai Soon Burgess and dancers rehearsing in studio.

Join the Diplomats of Dance Society on Saturday, March 11th, to observe Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Conpany in rehearsal as they prepare for an upcoming tour to New Mexico. This behind-the-scenes event will be held at the dance studio at Georgetown Day School (4200 Davenport Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, visit

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company recently made history by being named the Smithsonian's first-ever resident dance company at the National Portrait Gallery. As Washington's main modern dance organization, they have a unique movement aesthetic that incorporates multiple artistic disciplines into their shows and work. Their all-original modern dance works tell stories that cross the barriers of time and culture. Dana Tai Soon Burgess's internationally renowned choreography is empathetic to our universal human condition. He has been called the "poet laureate of Washington dance" and described as a "national dance treasure" by the Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sarah Kaufman.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

DTSBDC Dance and Movement Classes at Glen Echo Park

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) will present a variety of classes at Glen Echo Park! The classes will be infused with the unique 'movement vocabulary' that founder and choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess has developed over two decades as a critically acclaimed and internationally renowned choreographer. DTSBDC, now in entering its 25th season, is the preeminient contemporary dance company of the Washington D.C. region.

Artistic Director and choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess has been awarded multiple honors including the Mayor's Art Award, two Senior Fulbrights, the Pola Nirenska Award and seven Metro D.C. Dance Awards. The company has toured around the world as a U.S. State Department Cultural Envoy to represent the United States abroad. DTSBDC also tours nationally and has performed at the White House at the invitation of the President and First Lady Obama. Most recently, DTSBDC made history as the first dance company to be in residence at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

As a contemporary modern dance company, DTSBDC teachers are offering dance classes to teens and adults in the many styles of dance that are incorporated in Mr. Burgess' unique style of movement.

On Thursday, January 5th, the #DiplomatsOfDance host committee joined for Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company's first 'Stretch and Strength' class of 2017 taught by dancer Ben Sanders, a unique class that builds strength and flexibility while protecting joints and muscles. It was marvelous!

Register now for a variety of dance classes at!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monday, July 25, 2016

Diplomats of Dance to host cocktail hour following DTSBDC's Asian American performance lecture series in August!

Photo from Burgess' 2009 premiere of "Island". Copyright Mary Noble Ours.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, Washington, DC’s premiere modern dance company, performs excerpts from its critically acclaimed dances that highlight the Asian American Diaspora in the Mead Theatre Lab at CulturalDC's Flashpoint in DC's Chinatown. Each work is contextualized historically by Asian American scholars, who will be present each evening.

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) will be at Flashpoint Gallery’s Mead TheatreLab on Aug. 12-13 and 19-20 at 7pm as part of a free performance/lecture series focused on the company’s Asian-American-themed pieces including excerpts from “ChinoLatino,” “Charlie Chan and The Mystery of Love,” “Hyphen,” “Becoming American,” “Tracings” and “Island.” Post-performance panel discussions will feature DTSBDC founder and artistic director Burgess; journalist and author Jenny Chen; and Asian-American activist and philanthropist Rosetta Lai. CulturalDC's Flashpoint is located at 916 G Street, N.W.

All four evenings have sold out.

For those who have already reserved seating at any of the four  evenings, the Diplomats of Dance Society will host a cocktail hour at nearby Asia Nine restaurant each night following the performance-lectures. Please email to RSVP.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Post-performance reception celebrating the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company’s newest creation!

The Diplomats of Dance Society will host a post-performance champagne reception with Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess and his dancers!

WASHINGTON - Feb. 10, 2016 - PRLog -- The Diplomats of Dance Society is excited to announce a post-performance champagne reception in celebration of the newest dance work by the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC). On February 28, 2016 at 2:00pm and 6:00pm the public is invited to a free dance performance at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Following the 6:00pm performance, the Diplomats of Dance Society will host a reception at NoPa in celebration of the dance company, tickets can be purchased at in advance at $20 for society members and $40 for non-members.
Scene from a past Burgess dance work (Charlie Chan and the Mystery of Love).
Time after time, the DTSBDC provides global audiences with cross-cultural perspectives while utilizing visual, musical, and spoken arts as well. Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess’s latest creation is no different. Inspired by Alexander Gardner’s famous Civil War-era images, Burgess promises a powerful and moving performance in, “The Foster Suite: The Remains of Loss and Longing”.

The Diplomats of Dance Society is an organization dedicated to highlighting and supporting the DTSBDC’s unique artistic and cultural work both in the United States and abroad. Young professionals and art-interested Washingtonians alike come together at events throughout the year to applaud Burgess and his dance company. Members and donations for the Diplomats of Dance Society directly support ‘dance diplomacy’ as DC’s foremost modern dance group prepares to embark on two international tours as a U.S. State Department cultural envoy in 2016.

To become a Diplomat of Dance, please find information on the Become a Diplomat page.

See this press release on PRLog here
Download the PDF here

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cocktails for Dance in Dupont!

This is already almost sold out! 

After our e-list and word-of-mouth, there are very few tickets remaining, but please join us to celebrate Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company's powerful 2015 season. Toast to 'dance diplomacy' and cultural-sharing alongside Dana, the DTSBDC dancers, supporters and Board members. 

Saturday, December 5th from 5-7pm:
Join the Diplomats of Dance Society for a 'friendraiser' cocktail party to celebrate the amazing performance season the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company has enjoyed this year! Hosted at the beautiful private home of DTSBDC Board Member Dedi Gunawan and Dr. Wayne Hickory in the heart of Dupont Circle, this will be a fun opportunity to spend time with Dana, the dancers, and the DTSBDC team, as well as fellow supporters of Washington's premiere modern dance company. Help congratulate them on an incredible and critically-acclaimed year of original and superb dances!
Buy tickets to Cocktails for Dance in Dupont.

If we don't see you there (which we hope to, but again...almost sold out!) please become (or renew as) a Diplomat of Dance. Today is a perfect day to do so, since it's #GivingTuesday!  

Questions? Email

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Some of the press and reviews for new dance "We choose to go to the moon" at the Kennedy Center!

Selections of the great press surrounding DTSBDC's world premiere of the dance work "We choose to go to the moon", created in collaboration with NASA, at the Kennedy Center in September, 2015:

Dana Tai Soon Burgess dancers cosmically intertwine art and science

"...left you with the intricate satisfaction of a work of art."
Read more of the wonderful The Washington Post review by Pulitzer Prize winner Sarah Kaufman!

So can Washington dance? Dana Tai Soon Burgess weighs in.
"Should people really dance as if no one was looking?
[Laughs.] I think in the quietude of their own home, yes. "
Read more in The Washington Post interview.

A Dancer and a Scientist Deliver a New Take on the Moon Walk

Read more of the fascinating story behind DTSBDC's new dance work in Smithsonian Magazine

‘We Choose to Go to the Moon’: Kennedy dream inspires a dance

Dana sat down with Sarah Kaufman from The Washington Post to talk about the inspiration for his new work created in collaboration with NASA: We choose to go to the moon.
Read it in The Washington Post!

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Premieres Fluency in Four in Tribute to His Late Father

“I want to honor that generation,” he says.
Read the article in Washingtonian Magazine

Dana Tai Soon Burgess, dancers, and new space-inspired dance work featured on BBC World News
Watch the video on!